(photo credit: REUTERS)
KRAKOW – President of the All- Ukrainian Jewish Congress Vadim Rabinovich
claimed last week that Ukrainian authorities were attempting to take away his
Jewish News One TV channel.
In a statement posted on the website of the
United Jewish Community of Ukraine, Rabinovich – who is also vice president of
the European Jewish Union – accused Ukrainian authorities of threatening him,
including with physical violence, to force him to transfer ownership of his TV
channel to them within a week.
“A senior official in the government
visited Rabinovich on January 17 and threatened to harass him and physically
harm him, should he not transfer the JN1 television channel to them within a
week,” the statement said.
The official’s name was not published but the
local TV channel News One identified the man as Boris Podolsky Evseevich, a
famous Ukrainian businessman known for his close ties to the Ukrainian power
Rabinovich also added that he believes that the official’s visit
was not sanctioned by the government and that he already submitted an official
complaint to the General Prosecutor’s Office in Kiev regarding the threats made
“I believe that what is happening is an individual racketeering
attempt by a single representative of the government,” he said.
JN1 is a
24-hour international independent network which covers world news and emphasizes
Jewish and Israeli current affairs. It was founded in 2011 by Rabinovich and
Jewish- Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky, who is president of the European
Jewish Union. Its headquarters are located in Brussels and it has bureaus in Tel
Aviv and Kiev, and its owners have announced plans to open offices in
Washington, London, Paris, Berlin and Moscow.
The channel’s managers say
they are very proud of being “a fully independent news network not associated
with any nation, government or political party.”
Since the parliamentary
elections last October when the farright Svoboda party experienced a significant
surge, there has been a growing concern among the Jewish communities in Ukraine
about the increase of anti-Semitism. The Jewish community’s leaders have
recently launched a public appeal to the international community regarding the
growth of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and asked that measures be taken to stop the
increasing anti-Semitic rhetoric in Ukraine before the situation worsens and the
Jewish community is in danger.